To carousel or not to carousel?

By now you would have noticed Instagram has opened its arms to welcome paid advertising to your feed.

The image focused platform entered the advertising game in October 2013 with the aim to “help brands share their stories through imagery”. Despite some initial backlash and the recurring #nightmare of Instagram users waking to a newsfeed clogged with brands, trumpeting products and drowning the regular creative content, it appears the platform will move to focus on adding more ROI ad formats.

Recently, Instagram rolled out video advertising and have just announced “carousel ads”. The new format allows brands to post multiple images without overloading the feed with many separate posts.  Users can swipe right to view further content, accompanied by the ability to link out of the platform. Interestingly, this goes against Instagram’s previous efforts to not allow clickable links from a paid and organic perspective.

From a Social ROI perspective, this is extremely exciting news for us and our clients. Can we flesh out the various tools Clinique uses to create a runway look or break down the various pieces of an outfit for Shopbop and lead straight to sale? A place that once held simple awareness posts now has the ability to not only inspire but deliver measurable ROI all in one simple process. While I was somewhat surprised by the initial negative reaction by consumers when Instagram sponsored posts first launched. I hope the new “carousel format” will be adopted far more quickly as consumers appreciate the convenience it can bring without being too overt.

However, is this an assumption from someone who works in the social media industry? From a consumer perspective, will they have this much understanding and initial excitement or just see it as another opportunity for Instagram to ‘sell out’? As native advertising becomes the norm of digital advertising and brands continue to invade this space, how long will it take for consumers to accept that this is the future and it’s better to accept and move with the times? Or will Instagram put off users enough that there is a max exodus and huge drop in users?

My opinion is Mark Zuckerberg is far too smart for this. If this is anything like the way Facebook has evolved, with continuous updates and features revolving around the user experience and convenience we should not expect to see any decline.

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